Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries ranging from serious to minor. Out of the approximately 10 million crashes that occur every year, a large percentage of them are fender benders that cause minor injuries. While the vehicle’s speed and the type of crash influence whether an injury is minor or severe, it is not always the case. Some people can walk away unscathed from a violent accident. Other times, a seemingly minor crash can cause a serious injury. The cost of a serious injury is high since hospitalization, surgery and rehabilitation or disability all take a financial toll.
What Is a Serious Injury?
The definition of a serious injury is not always related to the type of accident. Rather, it is the effect the accident has on the injured party. Acute injuries usually involved hospitalization. They may end in surgery, amputation and death. They may be secondary to traumatic brain injuries, scarring or broken bones. Serious injuries can also involve organ dysfunction, neurological damage, paralysis, blindness or spinal cord injury. Some of these will cause lasting disability while others will heal with time.
Non-permanent serious injuries usually result in the inability to work or perform usual daily tasks for a specific period. Usually, this can range from 90 to 180 days from the time the accident happens.
Disability From a Serious Injury
The law defines serious injuries as those the will cause disability for 90 to 180 days after the accident occurred. This can be due to a significant functional loss of a body part, which may or may not last until death. This disability will make it impossible for the person to perform their usual daily tasks or work. If a serious injury deserves this classification, it is clear that it will take a significant period of time to recover.
Appearance of Symptoms from Injury
The time it takes for symptoms to appear also varies. For instance, a rear-end accident often causes whiplash. For some, this soft tissue injury will not be symptomatic for several days. That means that after the accident, you might feel fine except for being a little shaken up. In some cases, the pain of injury to the tendons and ligaments in the neck and upper back resolves within a month with applications of heat and ice and pain medications as well as physical therapy. For others, the pain and limitations of a cervical sprain continue for months to years.
The injury may also cause arthritis to develop and limit the individual for the rest of their life. In this way, a seemingly minor injury has become more serious. An experienced lawyer will consult with medical experts and your doctor to determine the longevity of symptoms.
In other cases, an accident will cause sudden and unmistakable symptoms such as with dismemberment, traumatic brain injury or a burn. All cause pain and generally disable the victim. Others also cause permanent scarring. This could put the person at risk for ridicule or make employment difficult. Some fractures are worse than others. For example, a bone that is broken in a straight line can usually be cast and will heal in time. Others are broken in such a way that the bone may shatter into several pieces, requiring the need for pins or rods to be surgically implanted.
Organs can also be damaged so they are no longer able to function. An intestine can be torn, leaking its contents into the abdominal cavity. This can result in a massive infection. The intestine may not be able to be repaired, either immediately or permanently, necessitating the use of a bag to collect the body’s waste.
Lawsuit Process for Serious Injuries
When an attorney becomes involved to help fight for justice and fair compensation after a serious injury, the process from the first meeting to the final settlement or judgment goes like this:
- Meeting each other: This occurs during the free, no-obligation case evaluation in person, or via a virtual video consultation. Your lawyer will review your case and ask questions. He will also read through any records you bring with you. You will have many questions to ask the attorney too. After this meeting concludes, you will decide if the law firm is the right one for you. If so, a retainer agreement which explains all obligations and events going forward will be signed.
- Medical records: Medical records are vital in a serious injury case. In order to make sure that all documents are gathered, you will be asked to sign an authorization. This will allow the firm to request your records from all providers. The firm will also request employment records to support lost income. Rather than the injured party gathering records, the law firm will do that for you.
- Witness interviews: One of the most important aspects of a car accident case is to talk to witnesses. They provide information that the people directly involved in the crash may not have.
- Investigating the accident: The attorney must get a firm handle on how the accident happened. Aside from police reports made at the scene, reconstruction experts can be consulted. They use computer programs to recreate the accident. This is essential in terms of establishing negligence. Without negligence, there is no case.
- Waiting for the injured party to heal: It is essential to wait until treatment has concluded. The insurer will not pay if treatment is ongoing, and there is a chance the victim will heal. In order to demand a specific settlement, the extent of the injury and whether there are permanent repercussions must be known. If an agreement is made before this happens and more treatment is required or the procedure will not help, the amount may be too low to cover bills in the future.
- Settlement or Trial: Once treatment has concluded, your legal team will meet to review all records and decide what a just settlement amount should be. We will present that to you. You have the deciding vote. If you accept the amount the law firm proposes, the lawyers will negotiate with the insurance company to obtain it or a higher amount. If the insurance company fails to agree, the lawyers will discuss the options you have going forward. If you decide to go to civil court, the attorneys will prepare the case for trial. If not, you will be given reasons for and against accepting the amount the insurance company offered.
Free Case Review for Serious Injuries
Begin with a free review of your important personal injury claim. David has won 98 percent of his cases and the respect of his clients. He does that with hard work and by interacting with his clients every step of the way. Year after year, he is called one of the top personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles by Super Lawyers. Give him a call today (800) 991-5292 and meet with him in person or online. It won’t cost you a thing.